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CA Press:Escaped tortoise returned


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Posted by desiree on November 05, 2002 at 10:38:04:

In Reply to: CA Press:Godzilla busts loose posted by desiree on November 05, 2002 at 10:32:14:

Thursday, October 31, 2002 - 12:33:40 AM MST



Escaped tortoise returned
By Neda Raouf, Staff writer


NORWALK Godzilla was found wandering city streets Wednesday.

Godzilla, the namesake of the Japanese movie icon, was in this case a 105-pound African spurred tortoise, and he was found wandering several blocks from his home after escaping Monday night.

Southeast Area Animal Control Authority helped reunite him with his owners by the day's end, and he was transported back home to the 15500 block of Dumont Avenue.

"It is not very often we pick up tortoises, especially those over 100 pounds,' said Captain Aaron Reyes, operations manager for SEAACA, which primarily deals with dogs and cats.

The Downey-based shelter was alerted to the tortoise by a passerby, who saw Godzilla, Reyes said.

Animal Control Officer Connie Bradford, weighing 100 pounds herself, spotted the tortoise near a curb and, with the help of two bystanders, was able to place him in an animal control vehicle.

"Godzilla was lucky that he wasn't mistaken for a speed bump,' Bradford said.

Godzilla's overjoyed owners, Chuck and Frances Gil, claimed him by 4:20 p.m. They have had the tortoise as a pet since the 1970s.

Godzilla, about 55 years old, apparently burrowed under a fence into a neighbor's yard and kept going.

"My son and I went and made fliers that same night when I got home from work, and we went door to door,' Chuck Gil said, adding that his three children missed the tortoise and worried about getting him back. "And we started getting response that he was seen on that street and this street.'

Numerous calls came from neighbors who spotted Godzilla moving through back yards and then into local streets until animal control authorities finally picked him up, he said.

"We're glad to have him back,' Chuck Gil said.

No charges were filed against the owners, but SEAACA officials plan to inspect the Gil's home within 48 hours to make sure the fence is secure, Reyes said.

Although it may not be as enormous as its namesake, the African spurred tortoise is the third largest species in the world and the largest mainland species and can live to be more than 100 years old, Reyes said.

They are strict vegetarians and avoid meat products whenever possible, he said.





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